Coronavirus Travel Ban Goes Into Effect

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On January 31, 2020, President Trump issued a "Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus." Citing the World Health Organization’s January 30, 2020 declaration that the 2019-nCoV is a “public health emergency of international concern,” and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s determination that the virus presents a serious public health threat, the new travel ban went into effect at 5 p.m. EST on February 2, 2020 and prohibits the entry into the United States of any foreign national who has been physically present within the People’s Republic of China within the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry to the United States. The travel ban does not apply to those who traveled to Hong Kong and Macau.

Specifically exempted from the proclamation are Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States; spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; those who are the parent or legal guardian of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States who is unmarried and under the age of 21; siblings of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States, provided that both are unmarried and under the age of 21; the children, foster children, or wards of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States or a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the U.S. in IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications; anyone traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the virus; those on C or D visas as air or sea crewmen; certain government officials; anyone whose entry is found by the CDC not to pose a risk of introducing, transmitting or spreading the virus; or anyone whose entry would further U.S. law enforcement objectives or whose entry would be in the national interest, according to the Secretary of State or the Secretary of Homeland Security.

The Proclamation instructs both the Secretary of State and the Department of Homeland Security to establish procedures to ensure that any affected foreign nationals do not board airplanes bound for the United States, and do not enter the U.S. at or between land and sea ports of entry. In addition, the Proclamation states that anyone who contravenes the order through fraud or willful misrepresentation would be a priority for deportation from the United States.

The Department of State has updated its China Travel Advisory to level 4 "Do Not Travel" as a result of the Coronavirus.

NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, has released guidance to U.S. schools regarding the impact of the travel ban on international students.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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